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Stronger faith builds in the wake of disaster

Hundreds of people packed St Mary's Cathedral in Hobart last night for a special mass - led by two Sri Lankan priests - for victims of the tsunami. Young Launceston Sri-Lankan born Catholic priest Father Milton read the gospel and his colleague Father Dudley Prerera celebrated the mass.

Father Milton, who lost an aunt and uncle in the disaster, told The Mercury he will soon return to his homeland to share the despair.

"I need to be with my own people and share the same feelings of bitterness, anger and even anxiety," Father Milton, 32, said. "I need to let them know I am part of their family."

Father Dudley said as the world celebrated the festival of Christmas it was shocked by the phenomenon of nature, which had taken so many lives and made so many people so miserable.

"We ask God why but it is very difficult to interpret events of nature," Father Dudley said. "The poor people are affected and the religious interpretation of those people who are suffering is an unfathomable mystery in Christianity."

He said God had welcomed the poor of the land and the marginalised.

"It is the poor people who have been affected and the poor people whose lives have been taken away and made more miserable ... the deeply religious of India and Indonesia, the Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. But never ever think that the Asian people would go away from God. They will cling more and more to God and their churches, temples and mosques will be full."

Father Dudley said he hoped that from the suffering people would work together to live in peace. In his homeland of Sri Lanka, he said, 60,000 people had died in ethnic conflicts and 30,000 in the tsunami.

"Let this awaken us to the difficulties and strive to build a nation in unity," Father Dudley said. "Let us bring solace and comfort to those in need."

Stronger faith builds in the wake (The Mercury 6/1/05)

Archdiocese of Hobart
Caritas Australia | Caritas Australia Asian Eathquake/Tsunami Appeal

Tsunami survivors find consolation in church personnel (CathNews 5/1/05)
Bishop denounces Asian adoption profiteers (CathNews 5/1/05)
Pope praises human solidarity after tsunami tragedy (CathNews 4/1/05)
Australian Church sends prayers and support to tsunami victims (CathNews 4/1/05)

Church collects funds for tsunami victims (ABC News 5/1/05)
A MLN Dollars On Its Way To ASIA Earthquake Victims - Caritas (Yahoo News 5/1/05)
Priest calls for Aust to be generous (Sydney Morning Herald 5/1/05)
Priest calls for Aust to be generous (The Age 5/1/05)
Teenage tsunami victim's funeral set (The Age 5/1/05)
Catholic aid agencies report record giving levels for tsunami relief (Catholic News Service 4/1/05)

6 Jan 2005